Frequently Asked Questions

If your question isn’t answered here please contact us and we will try to help you.

Why have you coil bound the book, is it because it is cheaper to produce?

On the contrary, the coil binding used is quite a bit more expensive than normal ‘perfect’ binding.  We chose this binding as part of the desire to make the books as practical as possible.  Page turns are quick, and the book lies flat on the music stand, rather than closing on you when trying to play a particularly tricky bit, or having to damage the spine of the book to get it to lie flat.  We have overcome the problem of coil bound books not having a printed spine by having them bound ‘half-Canadian’ – the cover goes over the spine, so you can see the book when it is on your music library shelf. (LINK to a picture of binding)

I love the books, but it is a shame you haven’t done the Aria I want to learn.

We are constantly adding to the Classical Fake Book range and have plans for many more publications. If you want to suggest a piece you would like or feel would be useful, please email us with your suggestion.

I would like to buy these books, but they are more expensive than some opera anthologies for sale

Classical Fake Books have been carefully designed to be a useful tool for musicians, and have some unique features (LINK).  No other anthologies on the market have the chord symbols written in, and Classical Fake Books have TWO versions of each aria – a conventional style with full piano accompaniment, and a true ‘fake’ book version, which can be easier to use.  Each book has between 230 and 250 pages, much longer than most anthologies.  Buying a Classical Fake Book means you have the best of both worlds.

I would like to have some of these pieces on my ipad, is that possible?

Whilst researching the market for this book, we found that most people wanted a ‘hard copy’ book, but we recognise that some people like the convenience of having a good digital version for use on their tablet. We are developing a way to purchase these titles digitally.  These will be top quality indexed versions, available at a reasonable price.  If you want to know when these versions are released, please join our mailing list, or ‘like’ our facebook page.

Although these books make it much easier to play an accompaniment, I find some chords difficult to find in time.

Like most things, practice makes perfect!  Often, it is possible to play these chord progressions at sight, especially in some of the slower or more straightforward pieces.  In other pieces, the chord changes come thick and fast!  The important thing, as in all sight reading, is to keep going.  Skip a chord or just play the root note if you are finding it difficult to find it – you will get it next time!  Experiment with different ‘voicings’ of the chord to minimise hand position movements – often only one or two notes in the chord need changing.

Aren’t these books ‘dumbing down’ by writing the chords in, surely a good classical musician should be proficient at the piano?

In an ideal world, we would all like to have supreme musical skills.  It is true, these books do simplify the task of playing these pieces.  Musicians can be superb vocalists or monophonic instrumentalists, but cannot necessarily manage the coordination required for advanced piano playing.  These books help such musicians when learning a piece, or teaching it.  Often, seeing the chords written in a piece aid sight reading,  particularly in Opera arias, get the pianist away from seeking to play every note of what is a reduction of the orchestral part, and towards fleshing out a convincing rendition of the sound of the orchestral accompaniment.   Using the chords as an aid, you will often find that you are actually playing what is written before you know it! At the end of the day, musical notation is just a means of producing a performance on an instrument – if using a version with the chords written in helps, what is the problem?